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Young people, don't vote for Obama

By Alex Schriver, Special to CNN
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
Graduates wait to hear President Obama deliver the commencement address at Barnard College on May 14.
Graduates wait to hear President Obama deliver the commencement address at Barnard College on May 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An op-ed recently urged young people not to give up on President Obama
  • Alex Schriver says writer overlooks the failure of Obama to fix the economy
  • Schriver: Grads can't find work, are burdened with student loan debt
  • We need Mitt Romney to move country in a new direction, Schriver writes

Editor's note: Alex Schriver is the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee, an elected body representing 250,000 members on 1,800 campuses. He graduated from Auburn University in 2010.

(CNN) -- In his September 4 op-ed, Jack Schlossberg presents his case that young Americans should cast their ballots for President Obama this fall. Published on the same day it was widely reported that the national debt had hit $16 trillion, his piece is as ill-timed as it is unconvincing.

Seeking to speak to and for his generation, he characterizes Obama as "our biggest ally in Washington." He neglects, of course, to recount the harsh realities of the Obama economy. Instead, his message rests on the flimsy notion that we should hang on a little bit longer because enduring change takes time.

Alex Schriver
Alex Schriver

You may be wondering what happened to "We can't wait" and "Yes we can." Schlossberg concedes that we're "a little more cynical," but contends that "just because our politics and government can disappoint us sometimes doesn't mean we should forget how far we've come."

How far we've come?

Unfortunately, such an argument demonstrates a sloppiness with the facts. Take, for instance, the fact that unemployment has remained above 8% since the beginning of Obama's term. Or, according to this analysis, that half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed Or that under Obama, the national debt has risen $5 trillion. Or that Obama presided over the first credit downgrade in American history.

Unemployment and the presidential race

I could go on. The point is, these facts are overwhelming. And they are neither fair to young Americans nor signs of the progress for which we yearn. Rather, they are the residue of generational theft, of promises unmet, of false hopes and of crushed dreams. In a word, travesty. To argue otherwise is to fall out of a fairy tale.

Schlossberg begins his piece with "The Catcher in the Rye's" Holden Caulfield. He compares Caulfield's desire to escape phonies to young people's support for Barack Obama in his first presidential campaign. But the problem with that analysis is that it's four years out of date. In 2008, Obama regaled us with promises of hope and change, but his time in office has exposed the emptiness of these promises.

And there's more than meets to the eye to the president's self-proclaimed achievements. While his allies may credit his health care law with allowing members of my generation to stay on our parents' health care until we're in our mid-20s, the real question is, why can't we find jobs in the first place? Obama regards students as beneficiaries of his achievements. Schlossberg praises the president's "insistence on keeping student interest rates low," but that hasn't kept student loan debt from reaching record levels.

Schlossberg's discussion of Obama's energy policy is equally selective. He talks about the president's "investments in clean energy projects and jobs," but fails to mention that some of these "investments" came at a high price and on the dime of taxpayers. The saying goes that brevity is the soul of wit, so this argument merits a one-word refutation: Solyndra.

But of all of Schlossberg's claims, perhaps the most misguided is the notion that Obama has displayed political courage in the White House. He has refused to reform entitlements in a way that will ensure they remain solvent for future generations -- which is to say, us. Instead, he started a brand new trillion-dollar entitlement program in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, an unaffordable government takeover of our nation's health care system. His fiscal stewardship has been nothing short of a disaster. Four consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits isn't courageous; it's immoral.

Schlossberg does get one thing correct, however: Part of growing up is coming to terms with heartbreaking truths. But in this case, it's about coming to terms with the fact that Obama has had his chance to lead and his policies have failed. We don't have to fall into line once again only to be taken for granted. We can vote for a new direction. We can reward truth-telling. We can elect Mitt Romney.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Alex Schriver.

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